AE19. 6.03g, 19.5mm
MINTED: PONTOS, Komana. Struck under Mithradates VI, circa 85-65 BC
REF: HGC 7, 281; SNG Cop 208-9
OBVERSE: Aegis with gorgoneion.
REVERSE: KOMA-NΩN, Nike advancing right, holding wreath and palm branch; monogram to left and right.
Very Fine. Slightly rough surfaces, but showing excellent details. Struck at a scarcer mint.
This coin type belongs to an organized series of several denominations issued by Mithradates at a number of cities under his control. By far, the most prolific of these mints was Amisos in Pontos.
Historical Notes:Between 88 BC and 65 BC, Mithradates VI of the Kingdom of Pontos waged three wars against Rome. At the height of his power, he was considered the most significant foreign threat faced by the Roman Republic.
When transforming his backwater Anatolian kingdom into a significant regional power, Mithradates sought to portray himself as a champion of Greek culture to the Greek cities he sought to influence. At the same time, he prominently advertised his dynasty's eastern roots as successors of the Persian Achaemenids in Asia Minor. As Greek tradition held that the legendary hero Perseus was the ancestor of both Herakles (and by extension Alexander the Great) as well as the rulers of Achaemenid Persia, the adoption of Perseus into the royal cult of the Mithradatids served the purpose of this propaganda well.
The city of Komana was an important settlement in the Iris River valley that served as a trading hub for commerce between Pontos and Armenia. It was famed for its great temple to Ma, the Cappadocian mother goddess. In addition to land, the temple owned six thousand slaves, and grew wealthy from services rendered by temple prostitutes. The powerful high priest of Ma not only governed Komana, but was also the second highest-ranking authority in the entire Cappadocian region, reporting only to the King of Pontos.
PONTOS, Komana . Mithradates VI, 120-63 BC . AE19 . City of the goddess Ma
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